With all the damage the recent hurricanes have inflicted on Caribbean islands, many people who would have normally gone to a resort on an island are for the first time considering going on a cruise ship instead. This is a great option if your favorite island isn’t quite ready for tourists, but you still want to enjoy resort type amenities and the great weather the Caribbean offers. However, you will have to approach how you pack slightly differently. Below is a guide to help you out.
What luggage you take with you depends on your needs; however, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
- You will always want to take at least one carry-on suitcase. This is a bag you will keep with you at all times. All your valuables and any items you will need on your first day of the cruise should go in this bag. You will do a lot of walking so make sure your bag wheels well before your trip. If you have an older carry-on this might be a good time to upgrade.
- Most of the time your suitcases will have to fit underneath your bed. This will require some planning if you are taking several cases. One option is to get a luggage set that can be nested. Another option is a rolling duffel that can be folded down for storage. This might be a good option for families.
- If you are bringing lots of formal outfits you might want to consider a rolling garment bag. Your nicer garments will arrive ready to wear and the bag can be hung in a closet without taking your clothing out.
The following travel accessories are recommended for any cruise travel:
–Adaptors and/or convertors (see this previous blog, check with the cruise operator if you need one)
-A small backpack or tote for day trips
–Toiletry bags and pill planners
–Waterproof phone pouch
–Luggage tags (the brighter the better) and locks
I always suggest reading the cruise operator’s website and follow their advice closely. Also, make sure to give yourself time to get to your boat (consider flying in the night before.) Travel insurance is recommended for everyone. Lastly, I highly suggest taking your passport with you and make sure it is not near expiration. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself.
There are some things that the Europeans do better than us, and one of them is traveling light. That includes making suitcases that are both tough and lightweight. Now many of these lines of luggage are now making it across the pond. Two lines that are new to America are Jump and Swissbags. Both companies feature the latest designs that American companies just haven’t been able to copy. Below are a few of our favorites.
Jump Paris Crossline luggage is durable, lightweight and best of all, a good-looking case. With all polycarbonate construction it will be able to hold up to just about anything the airlines can do to it and with its unique pattern you will never struggle to find this case in the luggage carrousel. Did I mention that the carry-on is only 4.13 pounds? They even have a TSA built-in lock for extra security.
Tired of plain, boring soft luggage? Then Jump’s Nice Soft luggage is a lightweight and fashionable alternative to other company’s soft-sided luggage. With all nylon construction and leather trim this is a great all-around case for anyone. Best of all, the carry-on is only 4.1 pounds, so there is no downside to this line. Also available are a complimentary line of totes and backpacks.
Another new brand for America is a Swiss company, Swissbags. They have completely reinvented the classic polypropylene case. This is the same material your hard luggage would have used 30-40 years ago only re-engineered for today’s needs. The new polypropylene is virtually indestructible and can handle anything the airlines can do to it. If this case does manage to get cracked, the company will replace this case at no cost. There is no other company in this price range doing this. Check out this video on what this case can handle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoFcu8BAQG0. Also, the carry-on is still only 5.5 pounds so it is lightweight as well.
Both Jump and Swiss Bags are unique products that are only available through select luggage stores. You will not find any of their products at department or discount stores. So check out the full line of Jump and Swissbags today online or in-store at our two locations. Once you become a fan you will want the whole line.
When traveling in North America which carry-on you need is simple; a domestic carry-on (22’’-14’’-9’’) is accepted by all the major carriers. However, things get murkier when traveling overseas. While many luggage makers sell international carry-ons there are no set carry-on sizes that each airline takes and very few rules regulating sizes overseas.
If you are flying direct overseas or using connecting flights, things nowadays are fairly simple. IATA Resolution 302 states that whoever the marketing carrier is (the company that you booked your flight from) their baggage rules must apply to all legs of your trip. So if your ticket says United, American, or any other major US carrier then your domestic carry-on will suffice. If you are booked on a major international carrier, refer to their website and follow their guidelines.
Things get murkier if you have multiple legs of your trip booked separately, especially if you will be using overseas regional jets. Each regional airline overseas has a different standard for what qualifies for a carry-on and most have weight restrictions that really limit what you can pack in your suitcase. Please make note of any weight restrictions before packing and I recommend always having a luggage scale.
So if you are going be using regional overseas carriers you might have to rethink how you pack. My best recommendation is to consider not using a carry-on at all. For example, if you are going for several weeks and using several regional carriers, then a 25’’-26’’ suitcase plus a backpack, tote, or wheeled tote might be a perfect solution for you. You will have to check a bag either way so a smaller personal bag might be all you need to keep emergency items in.
For student’s studying overseas I really like convertible backpacks, especially ones without wheels. They can be carried either like a backpack or a shoulder bag and have cinches that allow the bag to be adjusted to your specific needs and they usually weigh less then wheeled bags. My current favorite is the Lite-Gear Travel Pack. It can hold as much as a conventional carry-on and only weighs two pounds.
Finally, as always, less is more when it comes to packing for your overseas trip. Consider taking less then you usually pack, especially when it comes to shoes and accessories. You will be doing a lot of walking so plan on taking your most comfortable and easy to use clothing and shoes. The good news is planning for your trip in advance will help avoid nasty surprises on your trip, and that is something we all can appreciate.
When people find out you work for a luggage store their first question usually is, what is your favorite brand of luggage? While we love all brands here at Irv’s Luggage, there always been a soft spot for Briggs & Riley. Not only are they popular with both our employees and our customers, but they are Consumer Reports top rated luggage company. They are the only line of bags to offer such features the Simple As That warranty and an outside pull handle for easy packing. Now for 2017, they have redesigned their Transcend line of luggage.
So what is different in these new models? In one word; EVERYTHING. Traditionally, the Transcend series was a simple, no frills case for a casual traveler. Now this series has moved upscale. The most obvious change for this new model are new colors (rainforest, merlot, and slate) and a squared off shape. This gives their cases a more modern and luxurious look. This theme is continued inside with an upgraded tan interior that replaces the utilitarian gray color.
However, the biggest change is the redesigned expansion system. Briggs & Riley has gotten rid of the zippered expansion system and replaced it with their new VX variable expansion system. This system uses Velcro to allow the consumer to adjust the expansion to fit their items, rather than a zipper system which is either open or closed. No other luggage manufacturer has a system like this; it is truly one of a kind.
Another unique feature that Briggs & Riley offers is matching accessories. Most brands offer maybe a tote and a wheeled tote. However, Briggs has expanded their Transcend accessories to include wheeled totes, a shopping tote, toiletry kits, and new for 2017 a cabin bag and backpacks. All these accessories are available in all three colors and easily fit over the handle of all of their bags. These are must-have items when purchasing your new Briggs.
While the Briggs & Riley Baseline series is still the choice for the business traveler, the new Transcend series is a great choice for the frequent leisure traveler looking for a quality bag that is fashion forward. With all these new features it is one of our top sellers. Check out our website today to see all the sizes and styles or stop by one of our stores in Mt. Prospect or Northbrook, IL for a product demonstration. Once you own a Briggs & Riley you will be a loyal for life.
It’s the time of year every parent dreads; sending your kid off to college. First-time students will need items like backpacks, duffels, and other travel items. All this packing might seem overwhelming at first. However, a bit of planning can prevent the dreaded last-minute panic. Below is a handy guide of what you might need for the new college student.
A backpack in college can serve a very different function than they did in high school. The days of having to carry all your books and lunch to school are over. The college student won’t have to carry as many books but they probably will want to carry a laptop to class and study groups. Make sure that any backpack you buy has a padded compartment for a laptop. The North Face backpacks have been popular with college students for many years, and still standard issue at many college campuses. For most fashionable students, brands such as Kipling or Knomo might fit their style. For the student who wants to major in business, backpacks that are designed for professional use will be perfect to use for internships and job hunting.
One famous college tradition that hasn’t changed in many years is the road trip. Students will need a bag for coming home or visiting friends at other college campuses. Weekender bags are very popular because they are lightweight and because their designs can hold lots of clothing and accessories. Small, non-wheeled duffels are popular too because of their structured look and durability. If a student will be mostly traveling by plane to get home a carry-on suitcase might be a more practical idea.
Getting There and Back
If you are going by car then boxes and large duffel bags will suffice. However, if your student will be flying back and forth to school things get trickier. Wheeled duffels are a popular item due to their easy storage (they will fit under most beds). Luggage can be used too but take up more room in small dorm rooms. The next question is size. Duffel bags 34’’ and smaller usually will work with airline regulations as long as they are less than 50 pounds. Larger sized and overweight bags will usually incur extra costs so be careful if you are trying to minimize costs.
When I first went off to college over 25 years ago, my family and I had to buy and pack everything I would need to furnish my dorm room. With the advent of the internet and e-commerce now, things can be ordered beforehand and shipped to the school on the day they will arrive. This will save you from having to physically bring everything and speed up the moving process. Sometimes things do change for the better.
Since the early 1980’s the rollerboard (2 wheel) suitcase has been the industry standard. However, in recent years more and more suitcases have switched to a spinner (4 wheel) design. Some brands, such as Samsonite and Delsey, are now almost exclusively spinners while others, such as Travelpro and Briggs & Riley, continue to offer both.
Spinner wheels have become popular for one main reason; the ease of maneuverability. Rather than pulling the case, spinners are designed to be rolled alongside you. When properly used, a spinner case will take the weight off your back and shoulders. However, I often see people with the retractable handle at the wrong height or pulling the case. This defeats the purpose of a spinner and can cause your wheels to wear out faster and unevenly.
If you are new to spinner cases, take the time to practice walking with your new bag. Stand next to the case by your dominant arm (either right or left) and put the handle at waist height and walk with it, making sure all 4 wheels are on the ground. It should feel like walking a pet. Putting the handle too high puts stress on your shoulder so make sure the handle height feels comfortable.
Spinner cases have been a lifesaver for people with physical issues. However, they do have their drawbacks. They work very well on flat surfaces but when it comes to uneven terrain they do get harder to maneuver. You might have to pull it when walking on sidewalks and streets. In addition, with a carry-on size you do tend to lose an inch of packing space because the airlines account for the wheels in their carry on measurements. Also, if your case has an add-a-bag strap and you hang a heavy bag on it, the case could tip over. Lastly, because of the design of the bag, the wheels are more exposed and they could be knocked off by the airlines (doesn’t happen often but it does happen).
With the carry-on size, I still prefer a rollerboard design. I like having the maximum interior space, and because it is smaller, I don’t find the 2 wheels hard to maneuver. When it comes to larger check-in sizes I am more neutral. When full they do get heavy and hard to move, and walking distances (like clearing customs) after a long trip you will be happy to have a spinner. My best advice is to come to a store and try one out for a “test drive” then take one home and do a practice pack and walk around your house with your case. Only then will you know for sure if a spinner is right for you.
Budget airlines, ah the headache. Tight seats, no frills, and strict baggage guidelines. To make things worse, now Spirit Airlines is changing their guidelines for a personal item once again. Gone is the 16”x14”x12” sizing and now starting on April 4, 2017 the new size will be 18”x14”x8”. The downside is your old bag might now be useless and you will be losing 2’’ of packing space. The upside is now Spirit and Frontier Airlines have the same standards for personal items.
The dilemma is whether to purchase this new sized bag or use a conventional carry-on and pay the extra fees. Several factors will come into play. For example, how often do you fly these budget airlines? Also, how many days will your trip be? If you are going to be flying these airlines more than a few times a year and for short trips (1-2 days) then investing in a new personal sized bag might be a good idea. However, if you are only going to be using the bag once or if your trip will require a few changes of clothes then this personal sized bag might not work for you.
If you are going to be using a full sized carry-on for your trip, make sure to build the cost of that for that into your trip. The cheapest time to pay for the baggage fees when you book your trip. For example, if airline A’s round-trip flight is $350 including a carry-on bag and airline B’s is $300 but will cost $35 for a carry-on each way then the real cost of airline B’s ticket is $370. So, you would end up paying more for that budget ticket.
One last tip is that sometimes it is cheaper to check a bag than carry-on according to Spirit Airline’s website. If you aren’t in a hurry this might be a great way to save a few dollars. Just make sure to take a small backpack or tote with emergency items…. just in case.